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May 24th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Arizona wants to reassign teachers with accents

(CNN) – It's been a month since Arizona passed its controversial immigration law that sparked protests from coast to coast. Now, state education officials want immigrant teachers with heavy accents removed from classes for students who are still learning English. They say they are following federal guidelines set up by the Bush administration in 2002, but critics are calling it an ethnic witch hunt. Our Thelma Gutierrez looks at the new debate in this AM original report.

Filed under: AM Original • Controversy • Immigration
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Ed-ee

    Really? I guess if you have a thick Boston accent or Southern accent you will also be thrown out of the classroom!! This is just a very bad slippery slope to go down......

    May 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  2. zacoben

    By the way......what does "awaiting moderation" mean? Is that like censorship or thought-police approval?

    May 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  3. Edward

    More from Nazi-ona. I wonder who is behind this racism? White conservative major perhaps. These attacks by these people don't make the actions right or legal.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  4. Dan B

    What is happening to our country? Racial profiling, blatant hate for Obama pedicated on race, Arizona's immigration laws, deprivation of freedom by Sheriff Arpaio. rantings by Sarah Palin, In a subtle manner something is going wrong. Isn't this the way Hitler got started??

    May 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  5. zacoben

    This is a VERY misleading and inciting headline! It is ALL about English proficiency and NOT accents.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  6. Walter Shmit from Oregon

    I will never set foot in Arizona again as long as I live. The very worst of the very worst republicans have taken over. If your skin isn't white, and you currently live in Arizona, it's time to move to any other state.

    I'm going to puke up my citizenship.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  7. Bill

    It's official. AZ is a joke.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Lourdes Nunez

    OMG!!! what is this country coming to. This make me so sad and angry, to see that we are going backwards instead of moving foward to a better place. How about American people that live in different parts of this beautiful country- southerners do not sound at all like the people of the midwest. You go to Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and they speak their own version of the Englis language.

    When is it going to end?????????????

    May 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  9. Curtis Charles

    As any dialectician would point out, EVERYONE speaks with an accent. So the question isn't whether we want to push out teachers with accents as much as which accents we are going to privilege. And does this mean that teachers who speak with southern accents, Boston accents, or maybe Appalachian accents will also be disqualified from teaching? I'll bet not. My guess is that immigrants, particularly Mexican immigrants, are the target of this initiative.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  10. AmericanTaxPayer

    How can someone who can't speak fluent english teach english?

    All through HS and college, PRONUNCIATION was drilled into my head, this lady sounds like Rosi Perez...and I would not want her teaching my keeds engrish!...

    Why in the word would she not teach englishin Brazil, her own country so that those people could come to america with at least some basic communication skills?

    May 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Rocco DiBenedetto

    Well let me see.......

    Why not do an interview with American teachers born and bred in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, the Bronx, etc. and compare their pronunciation of words as taught in their grade schools, in their high schools and to new immigrants.

    Which one of those accents is the right American accent eh?

    I too am an immigrant.

    Some real life situations are too stupid to be fiction.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  12. brian

    Of course a CNN person thinks it's an "ethnic witch hunt". CNN has maybe the most biased news in the TV network. Why does it make sense to have kids learn the English language with a teacher that has an accent that is hard to understand for many Native English Speakers? It is not like these teachers are being fired, they are being reassigned. CNN is just doing whatever they can to make Arizona seem bad because it's what all the people on the left are saying now that they decided to try and save their state from all the crime and economic problems coming from the Illegal Immigrant problem. CNN is Pathetic

    May 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  13. Abroad

    Hiltler started this way in Germany. What is wrong with you people?
    Arizona needs to stop this dehumanizing process. Having an accent does not make a teacher unqualified. The Federal law is discriminatory and should be unlawful.
    Instead of going after people with accents why don't you go against the drug addicts, and the thieves. Use your federal laws to punish undesirables harming society not qualified teachers that are out there helping the system.
    Arizona is a disgraced state and I hope they begin to understand the human pain that they causing by a dopting a Hiltlerian attitude against an ethnic group that lived there before the Mexican-American war.
    Shame on you Arizona! Haven't you learn the lessons of history?
    Ignorant people!

    May 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Brandon

    It is up to Latinos. They can stay home which is what the Republicans want them to do. Vote with Republicans, why I cannot imagine (maybe Token Rubio can help you...NOT. Or vote democrat. Pick a side.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  15. Teacher

    How do you define accents? Arizona needs teacher like SARA PALIN or JOHN MCCAIN to teach their kids. I bet we had a President who could not pronounce "NUCLEAR" . Lets not hurt the future of our kids, let teachers teach.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  16. melissa

    Why decide to remove them now especially when the so called federal laws where from 2002? It is 2010! Definitely sounds fishy
    Plus some teachers born and raise have heavy English accent from that originate from specific part of the country, are they going to be removed as well? what a dumb excuse to fire teachers.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  17. shane

    this is turning into exactly what I thought they would try to prevent from happening with this out of control legislation. You wanna talk about a violation of constitutuional rights here it is, the greatest example in recent memory. All you fools worried about the recent resurgance of the red scare commie baloney need to worry about something that is actually prevelant, the erosion of our personal liberties by out of control, scared/paranoid elitists

    May 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Yolanda

    I live in Arizona and I support this new law to ID immigrants because we need to do something, there's too many crossing over and in my opinion they (immigrants) need to put all the energy they are using to criticize this law and reverse it over to their President in Mexico for not providing for his people! If Mexico's President provided for them and would clean up the corruption over there, we wouldn't have to come up with laws such as this one! As per the teachers with heavy accents in classrooms where kids are trying to learn English...I feel that you cannot teach a child proper English if you cannot pronounce or speak correctly yourself without an accent, the child will mimic every word you say thus far not helping a child to speak properly! I am a hispanic born and raised here in the U.S., I was taught both English and Spanish at home by my parents, when I speak English, I do not have an accent, I can also speak Spanish fluently without an English accent, why? Because I had teachers who spoke fluent English which only helped me further with my pronunciation of words in school, and I also took Spanish in school so I could learn to speak Spanish even better! These teachers need to put their feelings aside and realize that this is not descriminating against them but to assure that these kids learn the correct way of pronunciations of words without the accents! These will only make it better for them in the future!

    May 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  19. PrimeTime

    It's about time. There is more to being a proficient teacher than knowing the curriculum.

    A teachers certificate should be constantly evaluated.
    My German teacher couldnt speak german.. as a result, nobody learned a thing. My Personal finance teacher was in the middle of her 3rd bankruptcy and got calls from creditors during class.

    Lets just hope that this demand for competence extends past language and into other important realms of education.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  20. jpl89

    Study after study – not to mention practical experience- shows that kids learn the pronumciation they use everyday from their peers. Not their parents. Not their teachers. Just look at any immigrant kid raised in the US-they sound like all the other kids born here, and their parents pull their hair out in frustration because the kid can't understand their "mother tongue." This guy is the one who should be fired for not knowing a basic principle of child development.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  21. Berta Mojica

    Why are they enacting a guideline now, after 9 years? Oh, I guess it's because they allowed a non-American born to take over the White House, without proof of a birth certificate, and now they are worried that a 'Mexican' may take over the WH next election? Well, why not, after all they allow 'known' terrorists into the country and allow them to do as they will with the American people, such as bomb their office buildings. Then they 'act' shocked that they were in the country and attempt to fool the American public, again, that they (the WH) didn't know! Hah! But if a treacher has an accent, they must be taken out of their classrooms? Gee, JFK had an accent! Oh, but that is different, he was Irish, and his father a bootlegger. They were okay! Hypocrites!

    May 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  22. tb

    We should probably also take care of teachers with a southern drawl, new yorkers, "yinzers" from Pittsburgh, everyone from the state of Wisconsin, Texans, Bostonians, Widwesterners, Philadelphians, – anyone who doesn't sound like the nightly news anchor – while we're at it.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  23. George

    Yah, as soon as we get rid of all of those Southern Accents all those immigrants will be able to understand English much better. As for those Southerners, we have been trying to teach them proper English for 200-years -no use.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  24. irma

    From the musical " My Fair Lady

    "There even are places where English completely disappears.
    Why in America, they havent spoken it for years! "

    May 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  25. Taylor

    Are you kidding me? So let me get this right… It’s okay if the student already know English, but if their learning it, then remove the teacher. I consider myself a conservative with some liberal views. However I cannot understand this, and how exactly do we determine if someone is fit to teach? Forget the degree, forget the teaching certificate, and forget the experience. It’s all in the accent. If this stupidity spreads, then we all need to watch out. Soon, you’ll be too tall, short, brown eyed or blue and you too will be removed from your job. I think AZ needs a make over, how quickly we forget that with few exceptions; almost everyone came here, from a distant land. This is pathetic!

    May 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  26. John

    As a left-wing ultra liberal - I think this is a good idea. Americans anymore are having a rough time doing business in their own country.

    Who hasn't had to deal with a thick accent when getting telephone help? Who has not run into thick accents in the line of healthcare? In the latter case, many of these people have attended American colleges and universities. They have been in the country long enough to be able to speak proper English. That they choose not to shows a disregard for our culture and language.

    I am all for diversity, don't get me wrong. I am all for celebrating other lifestyles and cultures. But NOT at the expense of my own. Indeed there is room for other cultures and experiences in America. But these days, it seems to be expressed by pushing Americans out and forcing others in.


    May 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  27. Brandon

    This is such a good idea!!!! Why in the world would we want our kids taught by someone with a heavy accent? It would hinder their education!!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  28. Craig

    What is wrong with this? I was criticized by teachers when I didn't pronounce a word correctly. What's the difference? Why is the race card played so often and why does the media continue to fan the flames? How about placing a more positive twist on the story ? Think "Teachers Enforced to Teach English in English". Now it doesn't seem so racial.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  29. Heather

    I am from a family of teachers, and administrators always come into the classroom to evaluate teachers a few times a year, or at least once a year. In what profession is a person not given annual reviews evaluating their performance? I just don't get why she is so enraged. Also, whenever I took a foreign language in college, it was taught by a native speaker. Isn't there a big market for native English speakers overseas? Why is it wrong for children in this country trying to learn English to be given a teacher that Japan would demand.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  30. Matt

    I reside in Canada and follow the US scene quite close. When visitors arrive from the USA to Canada we can instantly tell what part of the USA they are from due to theIr ACCENTS. Residents from the South or from Utah or Boston are easily identified by their ACCENTS. Get out of the closet Arizona, you are becoming the laughing stock of the world.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  31. Roos

    This thing has really got out of hand; this half-witted, and imbecilic law is totally uncalled for. It should be revoked and the "numskull" who wrote it deserve to go on early retirement for mental ailment.


    May 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  32. Snack

    Poor reporting: The headline, "Arizona wants to reassign teachers with accents" is not supported by any facts or statements in the news piece.

    One statistic was given: 25 teachers out of 1500 or so who were checked. That's 1.7% of teachers. Very low. And in a state where there's most likely a large number of teachers with hispanic accents, this implies a very accepting and tolerant policy.

    This story seemed to be about one upset teacher, and not much real evidence of the conspiracy. She herself, was a strange subject for the story: she was somewhat difficult to listen to, with her halting style of speaking, and slight mispronunciation.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  33. Edo Fuenzalida

    Now what? What kind of federal guidelines are they talking about? Looks like they have forgotten Henry Kissinger, and he has a heavy accent after all, and that was not an issue to take a Federal Job!!!

    I think this State is taking these things too far away. Now they are threatening LA with cutting off the power... I can't believe this is happening in America...

    May 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  34. Cathy

    Jan Brewer is the most fascist governor we have had. Her hatred for immigrants and Latinos in particular is immense. As long as she is their governor, I will continue to boycott the new fascist state formerly known as Arizona.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  35. ERIN

    Arizona has already won the prize for most racist state. Why do they keep trying so hard?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  36. Steve

    Not sure what the so called problem is when you have an official coming into a classroom to check on education being taught right. I like the idea that someone is watching over teachers and what they are teaching. In this article it does not accuse the teacher of any wrong doing and probably because of the recent law passed, certain people and news agencies want to relate it to that issue without warrant. Do other states have anybody checking on their teachers?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  37. Rob Howell

    Hate to break it to you, but everybody has an accent. Ironically, the only person I couldn't understand in this piece was the 'superintendent'.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  38. dave

    My guess is that nothing will happen to her. I can see how the an accent could effect the way people learn how to spell. I hope that rule applies to all accents even Southern, New England, Spanglish, Eubonics,

    May 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  39. Jack

    This dawg just don't hunt. We ain't sendan our chillin' to no school with furiners as teachas.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  40. blursd

    I don't really see what the problem is ... if the accent is so heavy, and difficult to understand why should they be teaching English classes? I can tell you from first hand experience I have seen what happens when someone with a horrible accent teaches other people a language ... the students copy it, because they don't know any better in most cases.

    Having learned several languages myself I would recognize any shortcomings I might have, and wouldn't feel outraged if someone told me my accent was too strong, and it affected my ability to teach that languages effectively - If you really speak a language well you can recognize you have an accent if you have one - it takes a lot of work to get rid of it sometimes, but its by no means impossible.

    I've met some English teachers that couldn't even speak intelligble English ... but they certainly thought they could.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  41. Bill

    Seems pretty intuitive to me: Kids don't learn as well when their teachers can't communicate clearly to them.

    So what is the problem?

    Oh, that's right, this is the New America. Getting the best person to do the job is no longer a requirement. "Good enough as long as you don't hurt anybody's feelings" has replaced "Land of Opportunity" as our motto.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  42. Joe R.

    While I'm in favor of enforcing laws, and I have no problem with police verifying identity (as long as there's probably cause to begin with), this may be taking it too far. The day that it is proven students learn English better with an English speaking teacher is the day the Arizona officials can proceed with this plan. Unfortunately, my American-born classmates seemed content to get C's in English class while I, someone born in the Philippines, received A's.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  43. TonyInLargo

    This is a tough one. Who will decide that the "accent' is "too heavy"? What if the teacher has a heavy southern drawl? What if the person has a British type accent? What type of accent or pronunciation will be deemed "appropriate?

    Something tells me that while this may be attempted, lawsuits will abound and the Board of Education is setting itself-up for losing in the courts and in its treasury.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  44. The_Mick

    The question is: how did teachers with heavy accents get ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) jobs in the first place? If they were hired with no strings because there was a teacher shortage prior to the recession and they did the job when no one else wanted to do it, they're sure to feel stabbed in the back now.
    On the other hand, if they are all transferred, and not laid off, it's sure to benefit the ESOL kids to hear English spoken correctly. Up to a generation ago most American Chemistry majors had to pass a fluency test in French, German, or Russian. My college French teachers – one French and one who who had lived in France for a long time – were a step above my high-school ones and even 20 years later, when I finally went to France, I remembered enough of the differences in forming certain vowel and consonant sounds my pronunciation was good enough to get compliments. For example, the long "u" sound as in "Ou vas tu?" (Where are you going?) is done by forming the lips to whistle and trying to say a long "e". Some "t" sounds are made by putting the tongue on the back of the teeth, other on the roof of the mouth.
    Teachers with heavy accents will have less aptitude in helping students alter their mouth and tongue movements to approach an American accent.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  45. Vanessa

    As a Spanish person, I think it is a good think that they are removing teachers who mispronounce the English language. The kids should have access to the best English speakers so that they may be able to speak and write proper English. It will be important for their futures. I disagree with CNN attempt to make it look like they are targeting ethnic people. Our Education system in this country is falling behind and I think that people should do whatever they can do to improve that.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  46. jeff

    Shame on you Arizona! Looks like only the blond hair and blue eyes are safe there.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  47. DB TX

    Thelma Gutierrez should look at the other side of the reports as well. I am immigrant from other country and only way you can learn English some who can teach beyond the guideline with proper grammar and pronunciation of word.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  48. Alec

    When I moved from New York to Virginia in 1951, all the teachers had what were, to me, impenetrable accents. Not only did I learn English from them, but I never acquired a Southern accent. Accents are no big deal.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  49. capnmike

    This is a giood idea. My wife is a recent arrival (legal) from South America and is taking English classes. She had to switch schools (and pay a lot extra) because the teachers in her ESL class (public schools in Norfolk VA) had such bad accents that she was unable to learn conversational English from them (She was NOT alone in this...many students had the same problem) . This is "Being targeted"? NO THIS IS JUST COMMON SENSE! People attend classes to learn, NOT to waste their time and energy gjust to make some hyper-sensitive teacher feel better!!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  50. GK

    This is a great idea! Its not that they hate them, its becasue kids who are still learning English should learn it from people who can speak it well, and not with a heavy accent, because then the kids will have the accent, or have a hard time understanding the teacher.

    this was a problem in HS and even in my past college classes!
    And the truth is, if they dont understand the teacher well, they will be less likely to listen in class, thats a fact.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  51. Chet

    It begs to ask, if people who have a southern accent unqualified to teach English

    May 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  52. M. Gonzales

    Attempting too create a news story were their is none is bad journalism.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  53. SaraGold

    This is awful, AZ should boycotted for such insane demands, whose running that state? Hitler?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  54. Ross

    Removed because of accents!!!! When my wife taught in California her students would ask her to repeat words and phrases at least 4 or 5 times. She's from northern Minnesota and her students were 80 percent hispanic.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  55. Eric Hill

    Really? REALLY? This isn't an Onion parody? So, let me get this here straight and make sure that I'm understanding what y'all are saying to me; if I got me a liddle o'l accent from, say Arkansas er Texas, I ain't gonna be allowed to learn them yunggin's? That there is surely ashame.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  56. Eber

    Leave Arizona for the idiots who share and produce such a dumb laws.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  57. Pragmatic

    You learn to speak English as you are taught: Which is why anyone from Boston or Long Island or Georgia is easy to identify.

    Teachers need to get rid of their heavy accents. Teach yourself how to talk like the people on the 6:00 News! It takes practice but you are doing no one a favor modeling a heavy, ethnic accent!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  58. Mark

    You have to be kidding me. I'm a native-born U.S. citizen with a standard mid-Atlantic accent. I had no problem understanding the Brazilian-born teacher profiled in this piece. But I've heard people from South Carolina and Kentucky - all born in the U.S. - with redneck accents so thick that I can't understand a word they're saying. If the Arizona state government wants to start choosing which accents they want children to hear, maybe they can start by abolishing the redneck accent that pervades our society.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  59. Mike

    Don't like it? Then speak your native tongue back in Mexico or learn to teach the children correct English in the country they are fixing to grow up in si.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  60. Reggie

    I guess next in line will be California Governor Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be deported back to Austria due to his heavy accents.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  61. Mike

    Don't like it? Then speak your native tongue back in Mexico or learn to teach the children correct English in the country they are fixing to grow up in.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  62. itsbouttime

    And the hits keep on coming....I'm loving it....more, more, more.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  63. Money Honey

    So I assume there's no foreign language classes?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  64. Brett

    I am completely against the removal of teachers with accents. That is absurd and many people pronounce words differently. What if you have a southern accent? How about Cajun? I am from Washington, what about my accent? What I do agree with however, is making sure your teachers are using proper grammer, sentence structure, etc... The Brazilian teacher in this video did not even use proper sentence structure and a few times forgot or declined to use the word "a" in a few of her sentences. You can't teach students "I want dog" when they should say "I want a dog", etc.... This problem has nothing to do with accents but more to do with proper education. I don't care what your accent is but watering the language down through poor education... no matter where you come from, is grounds for removal in my book. If this wasn't a ethnic witch hunt than they should be in classrooms of all teachers – including white ones.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  65. jarhead

    The under-currents of the immigration bill is showing. Illegal immigration is illegal! The legilation in AZ was done with bad intentions. Next result!!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  66. Andrew Lee

    I am in favor of the new Arizona immigration law but this is getting ridiculous. AZ is undermining their law and AZ is making themselves an easier target for people and states that are calling them racists. Eisenstein had an accent. So does Henry Kissinger. You wouldn't want them teaching at your school? AZ is getting stupid now. Just stick with enforcing existing immigration law.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  67. obsthetimes

    i can't believe anybody in america to do this. Its unbelievable what CNN will scoop out of the dredges to make a story!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  68. Claire

    I guess that Superintendant Dufus doesn't think he has an accent. Well here's a newsflash Mr, You do! Everyone has one, it only gets noticed when you move beyond your own backyard.
    If these teachers are getting students through the courses then let them do their jobs.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  69. Clayton Udoh

    Not suprised and I already experienced this when I was a teacher in Arizona. If possible all teachers in Arizona will either be brunette or blond with blue eyes.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  70. Thoroughbred

    There are many federal guidelines that are overlooked and simply ignored; such as enforcement of immigration laws and preservation of the territorial integrity and protection of the U.S. border.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  71. Wow

    Witch hunt, thats the name of it.
    Everything else is just another excuse.
    Now is the hispanic, then back to the Afro-Americans then the jewish?
    when will it stop?
    Nazi America?
    Same thing happened in Hitler Germany before, should we ignore the facts until is too late to act?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  72. justthinkin2

    It really is about time someone had the guts to put their foot down.
    English is the language of the U.S. and anyone that says it isn't is not an American. To deal with anyone in the country you are in, to be able to speak fluently and be understood is necessary. To teach in any one of America's school systems, it should be mandated if needed. Although, my personal opinion is that it should just be understood, if you can't speak it correctly, you certainly can't teach it. Not an "ethnic witch hunt" at all, simply a matter of ability.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  73. Iyov

    You should take a look at how abusive the after school programs in the PV school district are to children in the elementary level in AZ.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  74. matthew

    I own an English school in Mexico. I will not hire teachers with accents, because I want my students to learn proper English- not someone else's version of English.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  75. BassOMatic

    Wow...a racist policy in Arizona? Who could have predicted it? So how do these idiots determine where an accent becomes unacceptable? How can they possibly measure such a thing?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  76. pss9

    Arizona is getting ridiculous. Does this mean that all of the foreign language teachers must be native speakers of the language they teach?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  77. Robbe Morris

    My 7 year old son comes home from school last week and complains that his substitute teacher had a really strong Spanish accent. Yes, he knows what a Spanish accent is because we have close friends who speak it regularly.

    He says "Dad, I didn't learn a darn thing in school today because I could not understand a word she said". Ethnic witch hunt or not, the boy needs to be able to understand what his teacher is saying.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  78. Mag

    OK. That's just too much. I'm an immigrant from Europe. I speak perfect English but I have an accent. Not a strong one, but still. I've only been here for a couple of years, what else can you expect. I didn't understand the whole hussle around the AZ immigration law. I think if you're here legally, you have nothing to worry about. You are obliged to carry your USCiS documents with you at all times (like a green card). If you're here illegaly, you aparently shouldn't be in this country.
    But this? They would fire me if I was an Arizona teacher because of my accent? That's just ridiculous and has nothing to do with the level of ecucation those teachers provide. That's also called a discrimination.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  79. Patricia

    This thing in Arizona is getting out of control. The non-latinos who are making these policy changes are showing their fangs. The article states "they are following federal guidelines set up by the Bush administration in 2002". If this is the reason why changes are happening, why did it take so long since it was set up in 2002? The truth is, discrimination in any language or accent is wrong Gov Jan Brewer.

    May 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  80. rockN504

    This is sick! It is important that we all know America doesn't belong to a certain ethnicity! We all came here on boats, some involutarily and others voluntarily!! LIG "Americans"!

    May 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  81. Mustaqur Rahman

    Who needs an education? Just ask a rags-to-riches multi-million dollars lotto winner.
    In today's USA, apparently most of the population identify themselves with a non-english background, and even don't care much about the language they speak (not to mention writing).
    The obvious question is: Does pronunciation matter any more these days? Look around and open your ears.
    Who pays attention to his/her language – English in question?
    Does anyone care about the decency – the civilized values – today?
    What good is a costly education, if the bad students and crooks become wealthy and influential and the good students struggles to make their ends meet?
    Out of curiosity, how many teachers are the ideal role models, to begin with? Just take a good look at the popular role models!
    Someone has to stand up and deliver the good fruits.

    May 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  82. Myra

    Well don't go the University of Bridgeport, CT. They have alot of foreign teachers. U can't understand a what they say. But then again the college caters to foreign studens population. Their india accent is hard if you only spead english.

    May 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  83. Sean Chong

    Obsessive focus on English pronounciation will take away the quality of education itself. Let's not forget that there are more than one accents for English.

    May 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  84. Sean Chong

    You guys heard of American accent? Southern Accent? Or even New York accent? Everyone speaks with an accent. Those who uses "heavy" accent on non-American accent doesn't use English very well.

    May 24, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  85. Jim Solomon

    Personally, I seriously doubt that Arizona is violating any Laws, but if anyone feels that they are being discriminated against please go to to find out how to Legally Protect themselves. The Teachers Union does not provide this kind of Legal Protection...not even close and surely not at an Affordable Cost.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  86. Don Wayne

    Persecution is worse than slaugther!

    May 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  87. Expat

    I spent the last 4 years overseas with a work visa in a Southeast Asia country. I was required to have this visa and had to show it many times to do business. My wife had her cell phone stolen. When we filed a police report the first thing that they wanted was her visa number. I have no problem with complying with immigration laws. If people are in our country illegally why are we so worried about offending people to return them back to their own country. "Racial Profiling" has been so over used to protect illegals. It sounds like we should not be sending illegals back where they came from. I agree that if the police are abusive it is not appropriate, but just asking someone to produce a document that they are supposed to have is appropriate. I had to comply with the laws of the country I was working in, so why are we so worried about asking someone for their visa documents. If you are in this country legally you should not have a problem with the police doing their job in a respectful way.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  88. Mary

    Show me any 2 people in the US having the same accent. Just tune into CNN or Fox 5( my local channel) and you will see what i mean.
    If we are talking about English here, its not even our mother tongue! Its the language of England.
    So whats all the hype about? Why is it suddenly such an issue?
    All of a sudden a colored President, a Hispanic Supreme Court judge.
    Jan 2009 Sanjay Gupta was offered the position of Surgeon general, for the Obama administration but he declined. ( Guess he knows better than to stick his neck out!) Some boats are being rocked.
    Look at employment postings. Most of them want degrees acquired from US universities/schools. Hmm.. !!!
    If this trend continues, America will lose all it stands for.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  89. Barry

    Why must we always play the race card? It's your job they are checking. Just because you are being audited, it's automatically RACE? Get over yourself and work harder, then you don't have to worry! Everyone has sat and cried for the Feds to help them, and now you have the Feds and all local governments up in ALL your business, and your cryin about it. You wanted change? You got it!

    May 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  90. Shastafarian

    I am disappointed in our system. It seems that we are talking out of both sides of our mouths here. We demand that immigrants speak our language and there is surely NOT enough teachers to teach them. I myself don't speak with like the queen, but I was born here, I grew up here, I can converse with anybody and they know what I am saying. Speaking English and Reading English and Writing English is all that is important. You do NOT have to speak like the queen on England to be accepted. Get a grip people.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  91. Angie

    Now this is ridiculous right here. I mean as long as the students understand what the teachers are saying and they are doing their jobs, so what.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  92. John

    I am a college student. I pay a big price to get my education, and the consequences i pay if i dont to well in my class are even greater. I can get into my program. I also have had several teachers that had accents that i didn't understand and it took me maybe weeks to really get down. As you all know, weeks can be the difference between an "A" and "C" grade. This is a huge issue. The sad thin is that I usually like my teachers that have accents. I think they are good people, but I cant let that stop me form getting into my program. The worst part about the educational process in our Universities is if I am found in this situation I can not really get out of it. I cant just say I need a new teacher. The only option Is to spend a lot more money on a tutor, drop the class (which puts me another year behind), or take the lower grade.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  93. Ricardo

    Sorry haters – I agree with AZ on this one. I've had college professors who were absolutely non-understandable (mostly from Asia and India). There's no question at all a teacher at any level must be understandable and more importantly teach the children how to speak well. I could easily have come out of school speaking like Pepe, the Frito Bandito or Ricky Ricardo (no relation), but thank God I got through grammar school before any of this politically correct nonsense was in vogue. And CNN, you better buck up – the professors in this piece are NOT the ones they would go after. I can give you the names of a few that would have been more appropriate for this piece.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  94. KC Saxon

    In Minnesota, most everyone has an accent. They elongate their "O's" and say "don't you know" often. So does this Bush law include them? If you have a British accent, the Queen's English, and teach in the states, does the law apply to you? What constitutes an accent? What state doesn't have an accent and which one is considered correct?

    May 24, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  95. Liz C

    Mispronunciation of words? That isn't solely from those with accents. Take the word 'about'. In the northern states, Minnesota and Wisconsin for example, you hear it pronounced 'aboot'. Should all of their teachers be reassigned? One needs to listen to the entire sentence to understand its meaning, not just to the pronunciation of one word. The words, be and bee, are prime examples of this.

    I would think a more accurate evaluation on a teacher's accent or how they teach, would be judged on the performance of their students.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  96. RGarcia (A Citizen of the Country)

    Ethnic Witch Hunt is an understatement. Our country, the whole country is a melting pot of all religions, ethnicities, races, etc of the world...! It is what makes our country great, the greatest in my opinion! For Arizona or any state of this great country to single out Latino/Hispanic teachers, workers, students or CITIZENS in this case or any nationality in any case has taken them and us back in time over 30 years of civil rights movement suffering, sacrifice and turmoil. How dare the Arizona state representative and Dept of Education even consider singling out teachers with accents, obviously Spanish speaking to be potentially reassigned. I think this blatant discrimination is uncalled for and unwarranted. Someone in the State of Arizona Government needs to be fired, or maybe in a nice way "Reassigned".

    May 24, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  97. HernandezUSA

    How can we expect children to learn English correctly, if the person teaching the class can barely speak English themselves.

    Those teachers with very heavy accents need to go to linguistics classes to get rid of their heavy accents, so they teach American children in clear and proper English.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  98. Lesleigh Von Borziskowski

    I'm saddened that our neighbor the USA is doing this. I think this is a blatant act of discrimination. America is supposed to be a place where the American Dream can come true. How can America be so discriminatory? I understand there are teachers out there whose accents prevent their lectures from being understood but people can understand even more from the context of how the words are used.

    If America is going to aim efforts at immigrant teachers like the ones shown on CNN then how about looking at those who live in the south? I frankly have more trouble understanding them then I did the teachers I saw interviewed on CNN. Just goes to show that sometimes the people who speak English as their native language don't always pronounce everything the best!

    May 24, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  99. Jose Morales

    Wow! What is next in AZ?

    May 24, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  100. howie

    Have you spoken with any college aged students lately? The number of functional illiterates in our primary and secondary school system is disheartening. Unless these students can hear English spoken correctly at home and on the street, yet alone taught it correctly in our schools we should all start calling it "bassetball" or say "ax" instead of ask, or perhaps we can all "boat" instead of "vote"??? how much further down do we have to lower our standards to allow for "the acceptable " lever of mediocrity?

    May 24, 2010 at 9:48 am |
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